Natural England acknowledges that there remains concern and disagreement about the effects of grazing on the upland landscape and biodiversity, in particular about stocking rates, different livestock types, and the timing and spatial pattern of grazing regimes. The purpose of this report was to comprehensively review the effects of different grazing regimes and stocking rates
The current Rural Development Programme (RDP) is due to finish at the end of this year, but the next RDP will not start until 2015. Pending agreement on the legal basis and rural development budgets, Defra are planning to offer £30 million to spend on Environmental Stewardship in 2014, which is very welcome news for hill farmers in the Lake District and other upland
The bulk of this (£26 million) will be spent on top priority Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) agreements, to be targeted at:
Natural England has been undertaking a review of Uplands evidence and have published their findings.
This is the first of Natural England’s evidence reviews and it addresses 5 topics which were identified with stakeholder input. It reflects on areas of advice that are subject to challenge and looks at what could make a difference on the ground.
The publication includes the methodology and the assurance process as well as the five topic reviews.
A new Government consultation on the way LFAs are designated is in process. The European Commission has proposed to replace LFAs with a new designation known as Areas of Natural Constraint (ANC). This requires a mapping exercise to ensure that land which is agriculturally disadvantaged is captured under the new ANC designation. LFA land is typically associated with the Uplands of England, but changes may see some designated areas lose their status and new areas come in as agricultural land facing constraint may be located anywhere in the country.
Natural England has confirmed that in the event of further heavy snowfall this winter then livestock farmers - who may have an agri-environment agreement that includes restrictions on carrying out supplementary feeding - would be able to provide their livestock with additional feed. This would be a temporary relaxation for the duration of any severe cold weather period and it will not be necessary to contact Natural England for consent before carrying out supplementary feeding under these circumstances.